National Research Council (Canada): 49th Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate

With today’s Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate announcement from Canada’s National Research Council, that makes 49 mandates adopted worldwide, and 12 more proposed. See ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies). (Thanks to Peter Suber and Richard Ackerman for the notice.)

Let us hope that NRC will sensibly require that authors deposit directly in their own Institutional Repositories, from which NRC’s planned central repository, NPArC, can then harvest the deposit, rather than needlessly (and counterproductively) requiring — as NIH currently does — direct institution-external deposit. The optimal mandate is of course ID/OA (immediate deposit/optional access) rather than delayed or optional deposit.

A Simple Way to Optimize the NIH Public Access Policy (Oct 2004)

Central versus institutional self-archiving (Sep 2006)

Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How? (Sep 2006)

THE FEEDER AND THE DRIVER: Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally (Jan 2008)

Optimize the NIH Mandate Now: Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally (Jan 2008)

How To Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates (Mar 2008)

One Small Step for NIH, One Giant Leap for Mankind

NIH Invites Recommendations on How to Implement and Monitor Compliance with Its OA Self-Archiving Mandate (Apr 2008)

Institutional Repositories vs Subject/Central Repositories (Jun 2008)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

The OA Deposit-Fee Kerfuffle: APA’s Not Responsible; NIH Is. PART I.

In Open Access News, my comrade-at-arms, Peter Suber commented on my essay “In Defense of the American Psychological Association’s Green OA Policy,” which defended the APA from criticism for levying a $2500 fee on authors for compliance with the NIH mandate to deposit in PubMed Central (PMC). I had said the problem was with NIH’s stipulation that the deposit had to be in PMC rather than in the author’s own Institutional Repository (IR): Though initially opposed in 1996, APA has since 2002 been solidly among the majority of publishers that are Green on OA self-archiving, meaning they explicitly endorse deposit in the author’s own institutional IR immediately upon acceptance for publication, with no fee (exactly as all publishers ought to be doing). Moreover, APA has now re-confirmed (see below) that it has no intention of back-sliding on that 6-year-old green policy (as Nature Publishing Group did 3 years ago, immediately upon the impending announcement of the NIH policy).

Peter Suber:Stevan is mixing up unrelated issues.  The APA “deposit fee” had nothing to do with the distinction between disciplinary repositories (like PMC) and institutional repositories.  If the NIH mandated deposit in IRs instead of PMC, then the APA would demand a $2,500 fee for deposit in IRs, and the fee would be equally noxious and indefensible.  Even if the NIH’s preference for PMC were as foolish as Stevan says it is (a criticism I do not share), it would not justify the APA fee.”

Peter seems to be replying with a hypothetical conditional, regarding what the APA would have done. But the APA has already been formally endorsing immediate Open Access self-archiving in the author’s own IR for six years now. Moreover (see below), the publisher, Gary Vandenbos, has confirmed that APA has not changed that policy, nor are there plans to change it.

What needs to be changed is just one small implementational detail of NIH’s Public Access Policy: the requirement to deposit directly in PMC. The locus of deposit should be the author’s own IR. PMC can harvest the metadata and link to the full-text in the IR. This will cost NIH authors nothing. APA itself has no plans to repeal its commendable 6-year-old Green OA self-archiving policy. (It would certainly have put APA in a very bad light if, having given its authors the green light to self-archive in their own IRs, APA then decided to slap a $2500 traffic ticket on them for going ahead and doing so!)


Date: 15 Jul 2008 23:28:40 -0400
To: Gary Vandenbos (Publisher, American Psychological Association Journals)
Cc: Alan Kazdin (President, American Psychological Association)
Subject: In Defense of the American Psychological Association’s Green OA Policy

Hi Gary (and Alan),

As long as APA does not dream of back-sliding on its 6-year green OA policy on institutional self-archiving, you can count on my firm support in the forthcoming onslaught from OA advocates worldwide, and you will weather the storm and come out looking good.

But please do reply to reassure me that back-sliding is not an option!

Best wishes, Stevan

Date: 16 Jul 2008 2:05:49 AM EDT (CA),
From: Gary VandenBos

Steven, I expect no change in the existing policy. Have not ever heard anyone suggest it.
Gary

Date: 16 Jul 2008 13:22:08 +0100 (BST)
To: Gary VandenBos

Splendid. Expect a spirited (and successful) defense that will leave APA looking benign and responsible (as it indeed is). The problem is in the well-meaning juggernauts (in this case, NIH OA policy-makers) that simply do not think things through.

Best wishes, Stevan


Peter Suber:Stevan points to a 2002 APA policy statement, still online, which allows self-archiving in IRs.  But he doesn’t point out that the APA’s newer policy statement describing the “deposit fee” effectively negates the older green policy, at least for NIH-funded authors.  The new policy prohibits NIH-funded authors from depositing their postprints in any OA repository, disciplinary or institutional.”

The 2002 APA policy statement is not only still online and still in effect, but we have the publisher’s word that there is to be no change in that policy. The proposed fee only pertains to deposit in PMC.

APA Policy on Posting Articles on the Internet …Update effective June 1, 2002Authors of articles published in APA journals may post a copy of the final manuscript… on their Web site or their employer’s server after it is accepted for publication… APA does not permit archiving with any other non-APA repositories

Peter Suber:The title of Stevan’s post suggests that he’s defending the APA’s 2002 self-archiving policy.  I join him in that.  But the body of his post attempts to defend the 2008 deposit fee as well:  “Although it looks bad on the face of it…things are not always as they seem.”  Not always, but this time.”

Not this time, and never for a publisher that is Green on OA. Once a publisher is Green on OA, there is nothing more that can or should be demanded of them, by the research community. The ball is now in the research community’s court. It is up to research institutions and research funders to design sensible policies that will ensure that the researchers they employ and fund actually provide Green OA for their joint research output.

Not all research is funded (and certainly not all by NIH), but (virtually) all researchers have institutions. And all institutions are just a piece of free software, some server-space, and a few hours of sysad set-up and maintenance time away from having an IR, if they do not already have one.

The sensible OA mandate, from both institutions and funders (like NIH) is to require deposit in the researcher’s own IR, immediately upon acceptance for publication. If there is an embargo, access to the deposit can be set as Closed Access during the embargo. The IR’s “email eprint request” button will provide almost-immediate, almost-OA for all user needs during any embargo.

If funders or others want to create institution-external, central collections of already-OA content, based on subject matter, funding source, nationality, or whatever, then they can harvest the metadata and link to the full-text in the IR in which it was deposited. But there is certainly no reason to insist that it be deposited directly in their collections. Google, for example, quietly harvests everything: no need to deposit things directly in Google or Google Scholar. And no charge.

Peter Suber:Both arguments are moot for a while, now that the APA has taken down the new policy statement for “re-examination”.  (See the 7/16/08 update to my blog post on the policy.)”

I don’t doubt that well-meaning OA supporters who have not thought it through are now railing at APA instead of resolutely requesting that NIH make the minor modification in its otherwise admirable, timely, and welcome policy that would put an end to this nonsense and let researchers get on with the urgent task of providing OA by depositing their own research in their own OA IRs, free for all, webwide.

Epilogue and Homily:

The influence of the pro-OA lobby has become gratifyingly strong and swift:

A new policy is in the works. In an e-mail from Alan Kazdin, APA president:

?A new document deposit policy of the American Psychological Association (APA) requiring a publication fee to deposit manuscripts in PubMed Central based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is currently being re-examined and will not be implemented at this time. This policy had recently been announced on APA?s Web site. APA will soon be releasing more detailed information about the complex issues involved in the implementation of the new NIH Public Access Policy.

APA will continue to deposit NIH-funded manuscripts on behalf of authors in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Gary R. VandenBos, PhD
APA Publisher?

but it would be useful if the heads of OA advocates worldwide were focused, commensurately strongly, on using their growing influence to promote what will actually generate universal OA, swiftly and surely, rather than dissipating it on the short-sighted distractions — such as Gold Fever, Preservation Panic, Copyright Compulsion, and, here, Supererogatory Centralism — which are only delaying rather than facilitating OA:

(For the record, and the too literal-minded: Of course a $2500 fee for depositing in PMS is absurd, but what reduced us to this absurdity was needlessly mandating direct deposit in PMS in the first place. Time to remedy the absurdity and let researchers’ fingers do the walking so we can all reach 100% OA at long last.)

A Simple Way to Optimize the NIH Public Access Policy (Oct 2004)

Please Don’t Copy-Cat Clone NIH-12 Non-OA Policy! (Jan 2005)

National Institutes of Health: Report on the NIH Public Access Policy. In: Department of Health and Human Services (Jan 2006, reporting 3.8% compliance rate after 8 months for its first, non-mandatory deposit policy)

Central versus institutional self-archiving (Sep 2006)

Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How? (Sep 2006)

THE FEEDER AND THE DRIVER: Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally (Jan 2008)

Optimize the NIH Mandate Now: Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally (Jan 2008)

Yet Another Reason for Institutional OA Mandates: To Reinforce and Monitor Compliance With Funder OA Mandates (Feb 2008)

How To Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates (Mar 2008)

One Small Step for NIH, One Giant Leap for Mankind (Mar 2008)

NIH Invites Recommendations on How to Implement and Monitor Compliance with Its OA Self-Archiving Mandate (Apr 2008)

Institutional Repositories vs Subject/Central Repositories (Jun 2008)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

In Defense of the American Psychological Association’s Green OA Policy


SUMMARY: So the American Psychological Association (APA) is trying to charge $2500 per article to fulfill NIH’s Green OA mandate by proxy-depositing in PubMed Central on the author’s behalf? So maybe if NIH had sensibly mandated depositing in the author’s own Institutional Repository (IR), this awkward problem wouldn’t have come up? Like the majority of journals, APA journals — unlike ACS journals — are Green on authors self-archiving in their own IRs. There’s still time to fix the NIH mandate so good sense can prevail…


Although it looks bad on the face of it — the American Psychological Association (APA) charging the author’s institution and/or research grant $2500, not even for Gold OA publishing, but just for depositing the author’s refereed final draft in PubMed Central (PMC) on the author’s behalf (“proxy self-archiving“), in order to fulfill the relentlessly repeated advice and reasons to the contrary — insisted on drafting its policy:

To cut to the quick, there is no earthly reason NIH should insist on direct deposit in PMC. The mandate should be (and should all along have been) to deposit in the author’s own Institutional Repository (IR). PMC can then harvest the metadata and link to the IR-deposited full-text itself from there.

Unlike the American Chemical Society journals (which have unswervingly opposed Green OA), the American Psychological Association journals (after initial opposition, and eventually the majority of other journals) — for reasons they would have found it very hard to justify flouting — have long given their green light to immediate deposit (no delay, no embargo, and of course no fee) in the author’s own IR:


APA Policy on Posting Articles on the Internet

Update effective June 1, 2002

Authors of articles published in APA journals may post a copy of the final manuscript, as a word processing, PDF, or other type file, on their Web site or their employer’s server after it is accepted for publication. The following conditions would prevail:

? The posted article must carry an APA copyright notice and include a link to the APA journal home page.
? Further, the posted article must include the following statement: “This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.”
? APA does not permit archiving with any other non-APA repositories.
? APA does not provide electronic copies of the APA published version for this purpose, and authors are not permitted to scan in the APA published version.


To repeat, a publisher that is Green on immediate OA self-archiving in the author’s own IR is squarely on the side of the angels. (If that publisher seeks to profit from NIH’s gratuitous insistence on institution-external deposit, by treating PMC as a 3rd-party free-loader or rival publisher, hence legally requiring permission or payment to re-publish, I would say that NIH drew that upon itself. As noted many times, that technicality does not work with an author’s own institution.)

And it is remediable: Simply revise the NIH mandate to require institutional IR deposit of the accepted final draft, immediately upon acceptance (with a cap on the permissible embargo length, if any). That is the sensible policy — and nature will take care of the rest, with universal OA just around the corner.

A Simple Way to Optimize the NIH Public Access Policy (Oct 2004)

Please Don’t Copy-Cat Clone NIH-12 Non-OA Policy! (Jan 2005)

National Institutes of Health: Report on the NIH Public Access Policy. In: Department of Health and Human Services (Jan 2006, reporting 3.8% compliance rate after 8 months for its first, non-mandatory deposit policy)

Central versus institutional self-archiving (Sep 2006)

Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How? (Sep 2006)

THE FEEDER AND THE DRIVER: Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally (Jan 2008)

Optimize the NIH Mandate Now: Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally (Jan 2008)

Yet Another Reason for Institutional OA Mandates: To Reinforce and Monitor Compliance With Funder OA Mandates (Feb 2008)

How To Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates (Mar 2008)

One Small Step for NIH, One Giant Leap for Mankind (Mar 2008)

NIH Invites Recommendations on How to Implement and Monitor Compliance with Its OA Self-Archiving Mandate (Apr 2008)

Institutional Repositories vs Subject/Central Repositories (Jun 2008)

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

The Dot-Gold Rush for Open Access


SUMMARY: Because it is relatively easy to start up fleets of “peer-reviewed journals” online with minimal experience, answerability, quality-control, cost, or risk, because the call for Open Access (OA) is getting stronger, because traditional journals are perceived as getting weaker, and because there is still widespread ignorance and inertia regarding the fastest and surest way of providing OA (Green OA self-archiving), there seems to be a growing “dot-gold rush” of Gold OA journal start-ups, based on spamming the research community to solicit editors, referees and authors. Needless to say, these antics are giving OA a bad name. The eloquent and insightful chronicler of the OA movement, Richard Poynder, is doing some investigative journalism on this fast-feeding frenzy and looking for help from the research community.


On Mon, 14 Jul 2008, Richard Poynder wrote in the American Scientist Open Access Forum:

Thanks to everyone who helped me when I was writing about Bentham Science Publishers. I am now researching another OA publisher [Scientific Journals International], and would be grateful for any further help list members might be able to provide…

There seems to be a growing epidemic of fast Gold-OA journal-fleet start-ups, based on next to no scholarly/scientific or publishing experience or expertise, and relying heavily on online spamming. The numbers are high enough to have inspired a fraud-alert/spam-warning series on Guenther Eysenbach’s blog and now Richard Poynder’s investigative studies.

The warning sign is always fleet start-ups (in both sense of “fleet”), from Elsevier/Springer wannabes: By quickly starting a bunch of journals, you can treat them all as a database, and treat peer review as just a matter of automatized software. Journals can now be irregular, “publishing” papers singly as they are are accepted, rather than bundling them by regular issue. (This is just fine, for a journal with an established track record for quality, but for a start-up fleet, it means journals can come and go, the author and archival perenity be damned: it’s survival of the fittest — fittest to generate either self-sustaining revenue for the publisher or a quick pull-out…) An honest new journal start-up is always just one journal.

Here are some observations on this unwelcome phenomenon that risks giving OA a bad name:

(1) Gold OA fever (a general yearning for OA that has sometimes taken the specific form of an urgent desire for Gold OA journals) has created a climate in which some people think there is money to be made by starting up new OA journals. They think that because most established journals are currently unwilling to convert to Gold, they can attract their authors away from them (and charge the authors for it).

(2) Some of the Gold OA startups are completely inexperienced in peer-reviewed journal publishing and peer review. They imagine it is largely a matter of cheap online solicitations, with minimal human involvement and maximal reliance on mass emailing, to solicit editors, reviewers and authors.

(3) Some of them do minimal, low-quality peer review, and some of them (like SJI) perhaps next to none.

(4) These quick-Gold start-ups will all fail, in short order (as many conventional journal start-ups also do, in an already-saturated market). Electronic start-ups (whether OA or non-OA) are so much cheaper — or so it seems to the dot-com-minded entrepreneur — that it is now a low-risk, minimal-investment venture to try to “create” a fleet of journals through nothing but email spamming.

(5) The reason the startups will fail is not just that their practices are shoddy and their quality standards low or nonexistent, but because what research needs is free access to the contents of the established peer-reviewed journals, with their track-records for quality-control and selectivity, not fly-by-night start-ups that try to attract their authors away from the established journals. (We already have more than enough journals, and the market is saturated. What is needed is better selection for quality, not greater quantity.)

(6) The fact that well-meaning research funders and even universities are foolishly willing to throw money at Gold OA (instead of just mandating Green OA) is also helping to encourage these quick-money Dot-Gold fast-OA start-ups.

None of this is doing the reputation of either OA or Gold OA or even peer-reviewed journal publishing any good. Gold OA fever and the economies of the online medium attract quick-money-minded know-nothings to what used to be an honorable scholarly/scientific trade: peer-reviewed journal publishing. It must be admitted that the trade had already been in decline since before OA and even before the online medium, with (some) publishers becoming big, price-inflated fleets of journals, many with low peer-review standards. But the Dot-Gold Rush has carried this to a grotesque extreme, because it did not even have to worry about building up a subscriber base by generating a credible journal: It just charged authors, already eager for publication, and if the articles ended up in a soon-dead “journal”, no skin off the “publisher’s” nose.

It has always been part of the strategy of starting up a journal to attract a distinguished (and sometimes unused) “Editorial Board” so as to attract, in turn, authors and reviewers. Authors have always been lured by the need and greed to publish, trading off the fact that a journal was new with the fact that it was hungrier to accept one’s paper. Scholars and scientists have always accepted to join new journals’ editorial boards (usually after being assured the workload would be light) for the added luster it gave their CVs. Referees refereed willingly for free, partly out of superstition, partly out of duty, partly out of interest in the subject matter.

(None of this is new: I myself have done every single one of these things: started up new journals via chain letter, joined start-up editorial boards, published articles in start-up (and later discontinued) journals, etc. The only difference is that these practices, which are legitimate up to a point, as long as the motivation is scientific/scholarly and not financial or self-promotional, are now being taken to a grotesque extreme because of the ease of entry into online publishing and a perceived instability in the traditional journal publishing trade, owing to the growing clamor for OA.)

Dot-Gold startups will come and go, but alas the long wait for OA is still on, and these unwelcome diversions and digressions are not doing OA’s image or progress any good at all. (And meanwhile Green OA self-archiving, from which there is no money to be made at all, still languishes, underexploited, waiting for its day…)

Richard Poynder is doing a great service by helping to distance OA explicitly from these tempting and growing abuses.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum

Batch Deposits in Institutional Repositories (the SWORD protocol)

In the context of Nature‘s just-announced offer to do proxy deposits for its authors, Peter Suber has asked Les Carr of EPrints to comment on whether the software has the capability of downloading and uploading deposits automatically, in batch mode, rather than just singly, with the keystrokes done by hand.

Les Carr’s reply is affirmative:

Both EPrints and DSpace allow batch uploads, but more to the point, both of them support the new SWORD [Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit] protocol for making automatic deposits in repositories. We (the SWORD developers) very much hope that we will be able to work with established discipline [i.e., central] repositories to allow automatic feed through of deposits from Institutional Repositories into Discipline Repositories and vice versa.”